The True Meaning of a Job Title

Job titles are a tricky concept to perfect when looking for a position. They don’t always accurately describe the position or the type of background the company is looking for to fill the role. That is why it is so important to read the entire job description before hitting apply.

Every company has their own way of naming positions — an “Inside Sales Representative” at company X may actually serve the same role as “Business Development Representative” at company Y, or even “Account Manager” at company Z. If you apply without reading the job description, your background may not be a fit, and your resume will be looked over. It also says to the recruiter or HR that you did not take the time to read the job description and (if they remember) they may not see you as a viable candidate in the future.

Tips for Getting Past the Title

  • Do research: Find out what people in your position are called at other companies. Make a list of titles that may match up with your skills.
  • Search by keywords instead of titles: If you are searching for a position on Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. search using the keyword function and put in skills that you have and are looking to use in your next position (e.g., java and software development). This way you are given positions that require those skills but may have a completely different title.
  • Read the entire job description: Make sure you have all the “must haves” listed and pay attention to the “nice to haves”. If you have experience with a skill that is listed as a “plus” it will be to your advantage to point it out.
  • Tailor your resume: This is especially important if your title does not match up with that of the position you are applying for. Make sure your current responsibilities and those listed for the job do in fact match up. Also, this is where you should highlight any “nice-to-have” skills that you possess. If you are sending a cover letter, be sure to accentuate why you are a fit for the position in there, as well.

When searching for a position, the job title can only take you so far. There comes a point when you have to start ignoring it all together and focus on the responsibilities and requirements of the position. I have seen companies that call their software developers “Ninjas”. If they begin looking for a job they will be hard-pressed to find another “Ninja” position that matches their background. Be cautious of what you apply for and don’t rely solely on the title.

Meghan Maher
Meghan Maher
Senior Talent Manager, Engineering

Meghan Maher is Senior Talent Manager, Engineering, actively recruiting top talent for OpenView and its Portfolio Companies. Her tech background has helped OpenView hire for nearly 20 IT and engineering positions. Meghan began her career at AVID Technical Resources, where she was a Technical Recruiter for two years.
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